For entrepreneurs, startups, and small or mid-size companies, renting or buying a physical office is not always the most affordable and viable solution for their businesses. A brick and mortar office involves higher costs, as the overhead for a physical space can include maintenance, furniture, utilities, insurance, and more. Moreover, traditional offices require a higher payroll, because the employees will have to travel or commute and work in a physical office during all hours of operation.
Therefore, a new entrepreneur or business owner might encounter various challenges during the startup journey. Sometimes, finding alternatives to physical offices and cost-effective strategies that can enhance business growth can be daunting. Taking smart business decisions might not be as easy as it seems at first glance. Nevertheless, having an overall understanding of the differences between a virtual office and a physical office and an accurate definition of virtual offices can help new business owners determine which is the most suitable and worthy solution for their companies.
What Is A Virtual Office And What Are They Used For – 3 + 1 Definitions
- A virtual office is an office that allows managers and employees to be located anywhere in the world
A business owner or an entrepreneur who is renting a virtual office is actually renting an office “in digital form”, without a designated physical location. A company using a virtual office will have the appearance of a professional business where managers and employers are operating from a professional workplace (meaning a brick and mortar office). Instead, the managers and employees of a company that relies on a virtual office can be located anywhere in the world, as long as they have Internet access. Clients, customers, and suppliers will never know if someone within the company works from a physical office, or home, at a hotel, a beach, or any other unconventional work location.
- A virtual office is an office that provides businesses with all the benefits of a traditional office but in virtual form
Renting a virtual office means renting a range of services that a physical office can offer as well. The only difference is that the services provided by a virtual office can be accessed while working at home or from any other location. Yet, they remain as effective as the ones that can be accessed by renting or buying a physical workspace. For example, most virtual offices allow a business to have a professional address (instead of a simple home address) and a telephone answering service that provides a business with a local number (or a virtual receptionist that works remotely for an outsourced provider and answers phone calls). Also, some of them can offer rentable boardrooms and meeting rooms, a secure business mailbox, and post handling and mail forwarding services.
- A virtual office is an office that allows a business to build a stronger, more effective, and long-lasting team
Business owners or entrepreneurs who are not tied down to a single location can access the global talent pool and broaden the recruitment to a much wider area, meaning that they are free to choose the best talent in the world. Moreover, remote work facilitates employee retention, because it allows them to work in a more flexible way (employees can choose when and where they work best). Therefore, a team formed by happy and highly skilled employees is a strong and long-lasting team that can increase effectiveness and productivity. Employees are the heart of a brand and business success.
- A virtual office is a valuable and cost-saving strategy for startups, small, and mid-size companies
All the advantages of a virtual office mentioned above have a positive impact on a company’s budget as they involve a significant cost reduction in comparison with the costs involved by renting or buying a physical office. Working from anywhere in the world without being tied down to a physical space means lower overhead. The prices of the services provided by a virtual office are derisory compared with the ones requested by a brick and mortar office. In the same vein, a business owner will have to spend a small amount of money on the tools that keep the company’s remote team in contact. Moreover, employees can have lower salaries depending on the average wage in the country where they are located.
In a few words, renting a virtual office could be the perfect solution for home-based entrepreneurs, startups, and mid-size companies looking to save money and gain a more professional image. However, whether or not a virtual office works for a business depends on personal and company’s needs. But only after having a complete understanding of the virtual office concept a business owner should make the best decision for a company.